Foundation/AGM18/Election to Board/Answers and manifestos

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These are the answers of the 2018 0SMF board election candidates to the official questions created by our election facilitator, Michael Collinson. The official questions were based on questions by the community. It was up to the candidates to answer all the questions or just a few of them. Our suggestion was to answer all of them. The official answers and questions thereof should be what voters use to judge.

Suggested community discussion period: 2018-12-01 to 2018-12-08 16:00 UTC (when voting opens).

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Name Nationality Residence OSMF member since OSMuser link Manifesto Answers
Tobias Knerr German Germany 2009-02-24 (confirmed) User icon 2.svgTordanik (on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.) Tobias Knerr Answers per question
Jo Walsh British Scotland 2015-11-01 (confirmed) System-users-3.svgUltrazool (zool on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.) Jo Walsh
Geoffrey Kateregga Ugandan Uganda 2017-10-11 (confirmed) System-users-3.svgKateregga1 (on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.) Geoffrey Kateregga
Joost Schouppe Belgian Belgium 2015-08-15 (confirmed) System-users-3.svgJoost_schouppe (joost schouppe on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.) Joost Schouppe
Guillaume Rischard Luxembourgish Luxembourg 2013-05-03 (confirmed) System-users-3.svgStereo (on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.) Diary Guillaume Rischard
Miriam Gonzalez Mexican Mexico 2015-11-19 (confirmed) System-users-3.svgMapanauta (on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.) Diary Miriam Gonzalez
Nuno Caldeira Portuguese Portuguese 2018-10-18 (confirmed) System-users-3.svgNunocaldeira (NunoCaldeira on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.) Nuno Caldeira

Answers to the official questions

Tell us a little about your OSM activities

For example:

  • What brought you to OSM and why are you still part of it now?
  • What is your OSM user name?
  • Where do you map?
  • Are you/have you been a member of any OSMF working groups?
  • Do you participate with other OSM mappers, for example in a local chapter or in social meet ups?
  • Have you run anything yourself, such as an OSM-newbie event?
  • Do you contribute as a software developer?
  • Have you attended board meetings as a guest

Tobias Knerr

I signed up to OSM in 2008 as 'Tordanik'. To be honest, I no longer remember precisely what gave me the final impetus to join the project – it may have been an article in a prominent German computer magazine. At the time, I already was a strong supporter of free software and open content, though, having previously contributed to Wikipedia and Commons, so OSM was right up my alley.

My first edits to OSM involved mapping my home town and university town. For big chunks of them, I did that pretty much from scratch, using local knowledge plus a GPS logger which I had purchased for this purpose. Today, my local area is still the focus of any mapping I do. I also spend quite a lot of time improving the OSM wiki, and helping out people on the forum, the mailing lists and on help.osm.org.

Throughout the years, I've had the opportunity to explore many facets of our amazing project. Together with the great folks from my local mapper meetup, I've organized mapping parties, taught newbies to use JOSM, presented OSM to students as well as the wider open source community and at industry events, and arranged a cooperation with the town's administration. We hosted the 2017 FOSSGIS conference (the de facto "SotM Germany", with a couple hundred visitors), and I've been a frequent speaker at several OSM events. Some of you may also be familiar with OSM2World, an open-source 3d rendering tool that I maintain as a volunteer developer.

As for foundation matters: I'm a member of the Communication Working Group, doing mostly English-German translation work for the OSMF blog. Having served as mentor and co-admin for OSM's Google Summer of Code participation since 2015, I additionally joined the Engineering Working Group when it was entrusted with managing GSoC. Over the past couple of years, I've taken an active interest in the board's work, and participated in the public board meetings as a guest more often than not.

Jo Walsh

I was one of the original group of contributors in 2005. I was working on something similar for an art project, and wanted to be part of something bigger.

I am zool on OSM. I'm not a very active mapper now but still attend local meetups here in Edinburgh. I organised a mapping party in Aberdeen a few years ago.

I served as a member of the Data Working Group for 18 months in 2015-2016.

Geoffrey Kateregga
I joined OSM in 2012 because I saw a huge gap in terms of map data that needs to be filled not only in my country Uganda but in many different parts of the world and through contributing to OSM I feel I can help close this gap. I contribute to OSM through my username Kateregga1 and I mostly map in Uganda as well contributing to HOT projects in different parts of the world.

Most of my focus has been on capacity building, training new mappers and growing the OSM community especially through Universities. In 2016 we started a continent wide collaboration of OSM communities in Africa under the umbrella OSM Africa, with the aim of joining hands, learning from each other, share resources and encourage active participation of OSM communities in Africa in the OSM Foundation through increased membership and establishment of more official local chapters.

Joost Schouppe
Since joining OpenStreetMap, I’ve found myself on a slippery slope of ever stronger engagement to the project. Not only have I been mapping at least every other day, I’ve grown into being a community organizer. At first I was mostly interested in South America, where it felt like OSM has a much larger niche to fill than in Europe. I didn't start off as an open source and open data enthusiast, but as someone crazy about maps. As a sociologist and data analyst I was fascinated by the data and the people behind it. I liked the way OpenStreetMap could solve real problems, and enjoyed being part of those solutions. Riding on the tails of Jorieke Vyncke (current Missing Maps coordinator) and Ben Abelshausen (awesome OSM routing developer and tireless organizer), we tried to build an open community of people building the map  together. I'm here because we'd like to see more of our version of open applied to the project. Here's our talk on the subject.

Guillaume Rischard

First of all, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the elaboration of these many questions. I also want to thank Michael and Dorothea for organising and moderating it, and my fellow candidates for participating.

  • What brought you to OSM and why are you still part of it now? What is your OSM user name?

I was born in 1985 in Luxembourg in a family who never thought that mappers all over the planet would one day try to pronounce my name. On OSM, I go as Stereo. My dad made maps, and I would always look for mistakes in them, which was more welcome before than after they went to print.

When I discovered OpenStreetMap in 2008, there were only a few main roads displayed around me. I didn't take it seriously. In 2011, I ran into it again, and saw that the map had become a lot more detailed. I spotted a missing name, and when I saw it displayed on the map when I refreshed right after saving it, I was hooked. When I upload a changeset, I still like to open that place in my browser while it still hasn't rendered, open the same url in a new tab a few seconds later, then switch between the tabs. It never gets old.

The way we map has changed so much that it rarely gets boring. But what I love the most about OSM now is the smart and generous community.

  • Where do you map?

I map mostly in Luxembourg and its surroundings, but also in Kosovo where my girlfriend lives for work. I extend holidays by recreating them when I get home; I've mapped remote bits of Ireland and sunny bits of France. Being a volunteer in the Data Working Group can make you familiar with many unknown places. My favourite bit of mapping remains Kidal in Mali for a HOT project, working late into the night with music recorded in a building I found while mapping.

  • Are you/have you been a member of any OSMF working groups?

Yes! I am a member of the Data Working Group, where my most recent big project was the organised editing guidelines that have recently been adopted by the board. I'm also part of the Membership Working Group, and like to try to increase OSMF membership everywhere. I drove the recent effort to go HTTPS by default everywhere on openstreetmap.org.

  • Do you participate with other OSM mappers, for example in a local chapter or in social meet ups?

Yes! We have small meetings in Luxembourg - I had coffee with a visiting mapper yesterday. I have attended large OSM conferences in France, Belgium and Germany, and regional meet ups in countries near me, like the Hackwochenende in Karlsruhe. When I first visited Kosovo last spring, the community welcomed me with open arms. This year, I've given presentations at SotM in Milan, and at national or regional events in Tirana, Pristina and Saarbrücken.

  • Have you run anything yourself, such as an OSM-newbie event?

Yes! From organising the first Luxembourg meet up in 2011 to co-organising a meet up in Kosovo a few weeks ago.

  • Do you contribute as a software developer?

Yes! I co-maintain the editor layer index, pretty much by accident. (please help!). I also submit many github issues and PRs to various projects.

  • Have you attended board meetings as a guest?

Yes! Best done with popcorn ;). I was also invited recently to present the organised editing guidelines and answer questions on them.

Miriam Gonzalez

  • What brought you to OSM and why are you still part of it now?

At the beginning I found about OSM because the company I used to work for acquired Skobbler and I was worry about the lack of data in LATAM. I am still part of OSM now because I believe in the potential of the OSM project and how data can change lives in different countries, also I am Co-Founder of the initiative Geochicas and we are doing great things.

  • What is your OSM user name?

Mapanauta

  • Where do you map?

Usually small towns in Mexico and other places in Latam

  • Are you/have you been a member of any OSMF working groups?

No

  • Do you participate with other OSM mappers, for example in a local chapter or in social meet ups?

Yes, I participate organizing meetups and mapathons

  • Have you run anything yourself, such as an OSM-newbie event?

Yes, this is what I enjoy the most because you have the opportunity to share your passion with people who has no idea about the pòtencial of OSM.

  • Do you contribute as a software developer?

No

  • Have you attended board meetings as a guest?

Yes, I have and I found it interesting, I consider together we need to find a way to have more people to attend and even participate

Nuno Caldeira

I'm Nuno, from Madeira Island,Portugal (that's Cristiano Ronaldo homeland if you are into soccer). I'm a 34 year old geographers. I'm also a photographer/ videographer and "ambassador" for two photo gear brands, Lensbaby and 3leggedthing.

I starting adding stuff to OSM in 2011 on an account that died when OSM switched from CC to ODbL to add more hiking trails in my Madeira. Since 2012 I been adding a lot of stuff on my homeland of Madeira among other places during HOTOSM tasks. In 2015 I co-organized the III OpenStreetMap Party of Madeira ,in the municipality of Calheta. Since 2016 I'm an ambassador of Mapillary and avid contributor with over 300.000 photos and try to help others doing tutorials and such. Early 2018 I became a HERE Map Master in Portugal. Mapping is a healthy obsession.

I translate a few of apps and OpenStreetMap related websites such as OSM, Vespucci, StreetComplete,Pic4review, among others (my username in transifex is NunoCaldeira).

To sum it up I try to promote Opendata, OSM and contribute at the same time with focus on tools that can improve and add more data to OSM.

What do you think qualifies you for a position on the board of the OSMF?

Tobias Knerr

I believe that there are some traits all board members should share: Love for the OpenStreetMap project, commitment to its values, and the ability to constructively work together in the interest of the OSM community as a whole. Because I've contributed to OSM for over a decade in various roles, I'm confident that I have a decent understanding of how OSM works.

At the same time, I'm not affiliated with any company or NGO doing work on OSM – unlike most current board members. While members who have experience with using OSM in a professional context can offer valuable perspectives, and are an integral part of the foundation and community, I believe that the voice of volunteer contributors on the board should be stronger than it currently is. It is my hope that I can contribute to restore this balance.

Jo Walsh
I have in the past served on the board of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation and the Open Knowledge Foundation. I have long standing as an OSM contributor and don't have any vested interest in the project's future direction.

Geoffrey Kateregga
I have been involved in different OpenStreetMap projects since 2012 and I understand the importance of a diverse community in the growth of OpenStreetMap. Due to my background and OSM experience to date, I feel I would be able to bring a new perspective to OSMF Board.

Joost Schouppe
Though I'm not a typical "social type", I find I can relate to almost anyone. When talking about opinions, I don't skip to judgement, but am interested in understanding what they are based on. That helps to identify common ground between seemingly conflicting opinions. So I would say I'm a natural compromise builder.  That means you might change my mind on things, I don't always have an opinion about everything right away, and you might hear me say "on the one hand, on the other hand".  Once I have an idea of the right course, I am a bit of a steamroller and will not be easily discouraged.

It all probably has something to do with being Belgian - our country is what happens when you choose to keep making impossible compromises. We're all in the OSMF together, despite our many differences. I think I can be helpful in keeping us together.

Guillaume Rischard

Participating in DWG and MWG gives you crucial experience. Outside of OSM, I ran for city council in 2017 and am a member of Luxembourg city's mobility commission. I am or have been on the board of several non-profits. I understand both the OSMF and how to get things done there.

I am, I think, good at listening to different positions and achieving consensus and reaching compromise. Linguistically and culturally, I am used to it. The destructive oversimplifications of extremism and antagonism have never attracted me.

I get things done - see the https switch or the organised editing guidelines.

Finally, I am absolutely passionate about OpenStreetMap. I have a lot of fun spending time on it, as is hopefully evident in my work.

Miriam Gonzalez
I consider myself as an person who sees things in an practical way and good at decision making. Also you can see the points i mentioned in my manifesto I have been actively involved in community building, teaching OSM tools and benefits and have been in different projects to improve the current map in Mexico and other areas.

Nuno Caldeira

I believe my previous experience of being president (2 years) and member of the board of a hiking camping association, helped me to understand different perspectives, ideas and solutions to the same problem. I'm a democratic individual that accepts different points of view, defends common interest of our community of promoting it and improving it.

The values and goals of the OpenStreetMap project

For example in the OSMF mission statement and on the wiki?

  • Are they good? Would you want to change anything?

Tobias Knerr

I fully agree with the core values outlined on the OSMF mission page. I feel, though, that the document falls short of entirely capturing the spirit of the OpenStreetMap community: There are additional traits which the page does not mention but which I, personally, also consider immutable values of our project.

In this regard, I actually prefer this earlier attempt to outline our values. Specifically, I hold a spirit of do-ocracy, a healthy scepticism of centralization and hierarchies, as well as a preference for open-source software to be core values alongside the ones mentioned in the mission statement.

I also agree with the contents of the "Good practice" wiki page and adhere to it in my own mapping. However, I do not consider all of these practices to be fundamental values on the same level as the ones discussed above. While "don't map for the renderer" is a central principle that I do not expect (or hope) to ever change, recommendations on the use of semicolon-separated values, for example, are purely a matter of practicality and subject to change if the technological reasons for them evolve.

Jo Walsh

Reviewing the mission statement; in the "Scope of the OSMF" section I'd remove the phrase "responsible for filling in gaps left by volunteer driven community"; OSMF *is* a volunteer community.

I think the scope of the OSMF Board is set too wide. "Sets core values for OSM (via consultation)" gives too much active agency to the Board and doesn't distinguish between the project and the foundation. Many of the items in the Board's scope belong to the different working groups. It should be made clear that the Working Groups have responsibility and autonomy, and that they run the activity of OSMF. This isn't a corporate or commercial body; the Board has an administrative, not directorial role.

Geoffrey Kateregga
The values and goals of the OSM project are very good and relevant. The thing I would like to see added is verifiability. I know OSM data is often verified by the local community, but I think this local review could be reflected more in the core values.

Joost Schouppe
It sounds like these are things we can all agree on.

Guillaume Rischard
It's certainly good organisational practice to reevaluate goals and values every once in a while. Are we doing the right things? Are we doing things right? Are we achieving our goals? What should we do better or less? I like our current goals and values, but this is a question that should, as much as possible, involve the community in a great discussion. I would start by doing a survey.

Miriam Gonzalez
Please check this answer in my diary (answer provided after deadline)

Nuno Caldeira

I believe in open data, however i have high concerns of the lack of compliance with ODbL from big companies that switched from Google (since July when they started to charge developers depending on the number of views of their map). Its will joy i see huge companies, such as Facebook/Instagram, to adopt open data to the maps on their website/apps, however its with bitter i noticed they are not complying with the requested attribution (i have asked them since August to comply, without success). I believe OSMF must directly take action to avoid this kind of misuse of our open data. The data can only be licensed in ODbL and no exceptions can be made. In my point of view we are not fulfilling this statement towards the contributors or the institutions that allowed their data to be incorporated to OSM:

The Foundation is contractually bound to all OpenStreetMap individual contributors
<https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Licence/Contributor_Terms> to license the data only under a specific licence. Currently, this is ODbL 1.0. The Foundation has the right to change that licence to meet future conditions but only if is "free and open" and only under a mechanism that involves getting the consent of then active contributors. 

No exceptions should be made. Bigger or small, all companies must attribute as stated on OSMF page.

Imagine if 2% of Facebook noticed the attribution on the maps and 5% of those becomes contributors. its not only about complying, its about promoting OSM, increasing the number of contributors and consequently the quality of our data.

Mappers, Mappers, Lots of Happy Mappers

How do you think OpenStreetMap can embrace all kinds of mappers, from those who map for fun, to volunteers to company mapping teams to students and others?
For example:

  • How do you think OpenStreetMap can better welcome new mappers and encourage them to keep mapping, and to grow as mappers?
  • Any opinions on diversity and how we can improve, (geographic, rich/poor, female/male, LGBT, ...)?
  • The role of the OSMF in regulating behavior of OSM community members. Should the OSMF define behavior rules of the OSM community?
  • What do you intend to do about improving the infrastructure for contributors, specifically the OSM website?

Tobias Knerr

One of the draws of OSM has always been mappers' ability to contribute data for the whichever topics they are interested in, as long as their edits are correct and within the project's overall scope. This freedom enables contributors to coexist and work together peacefully even if they originally joined OSM for very different reasons. It's also a big part of what makes OSM fun, as it allows people to link OSM into their existing hobbies and passions – and it's not a coincidence that "Have fun!" has been called one of OSM's golden rules.

As long as we manage to keep mapping fun, I'm confident that OSM will continue to grow and thrive. Two key ingredients to this end are tools (plus data models) that are pleasant to work with, and a healthy community.

Tools, for the most part, are being produced by an open ecosystem of developers, and I'm very happy with the project's progress in this regard. We have a wide range of editors, serving users from novice to expert, and a good collection tools for QA, reviews, and other common tasks. Work on some core components of OSM has progressed a bit more slowly in comparison, but continues to impress me nevertheless.

As for improvements I would like to see, I consider the EWG's Top Ten Tasks good examples of sensible and impactful improvements to OSM's technological foundations that seem achievable in the short to medium term. Of course, the board is not personally involved in implementing any technology improvements. Instead, I believe the board's role is to support those in our community and working groups who are doing the technical work, and ensure they have the resources they need.

This brings me back to the second ingredient mentioned above: Community. People vary a lot in how much they seek contact with other mappers, but OSM is never an entirely solitary activity. We collaborate with others through our edits, and community interaction can make or break the experience.

As I see OSMF's mission as supporting, not controlling, the community, I prefer to avoid behavior rules imposed from the top by the OSMF. Luckily, I do not see an urgent need to interfere in the first place, as OSM continues to be one of the most pleasant internet communities I've been part of. That's not to say there is no room for improvement. Two issues that have been highlighted in recent years are occasional conflicts between volunteers and professional mappers, and our efforts to reach out to demographics that are currently underrepresented among mappers.

Regarding the former, please refer to my answer on Organized Editing. As for welcoming more diverse audiences, my core concern is improving geographic diversity. To me, this is a direct consequence of our project's preference for "on the ground" data: Creating a map of the world based on local knowledge inherently requires the contributions of individuals from around the globe. The development of a healthy local community of volunteer mappers cannot be forced, of course, and attempts to take a shortcut through imports or organized editing might end up setting the overall effort back. Still, community growth can definitely be encouraged. Local chapters may play a crucial role here, and the OSMF can e.g. enable localization work on our websites and editing tools, offer financial support to community-organized events, and support community members who wish to travel to OSM events. We also need to reduce the financial barriers to OSMF membership – all mappers should be able to join!

Jo Walsh

I asked this question at the last OSMScotland meetup. Chris Fleming, an active organiser here, contacts new mappers in Scotland, welcoming them to the project, pointing them towards local meetups, and this serves as a quiet reminder that their contributions are being taken seriously. An effort to enlist more local organisers to do this, provide templates and tools, would be effective. There was a Welcome Working Group that could be revived to coordinate this.

I support the adoption of an OSMF Code of Conduct. I see its existence as a welcome mat, not as an attempt at behaviour regulation. It should be boilerplate, a minimal template. I don't see the creation or adoption of it as a Board level reponsibility.

Geoffrey Kateregga
●     How do you think OpenStreetMap can better welcome new mappers and encourage them to keep mapping, and to grow as mappers?

We need to recognise the efforts of new mappers and the active contributors by showcasing their good work at the country level, as too many times individual efforts get lost within the huge OSM database. Mappers whether new or old need to see their effort recognised. A circle of OSM contribution acknowledgement will not only retain mappers but provide infrastructure for them to grow.

●     Any opinions on diversity and how we can improve, (geographic, rich/poor, female/male, LGBT, ...)?

Diversity is a broad topic and one OSM struggles with a lot, with disparity across gender, contributions from different countries, and LGBTQ. Being from the local OSM community in Uganda, I hope I can bring some new perspectives to OSMF discussions.

●     The role of the OSMF in regulating behavior of OSM community members. Should the OSMF define behavior rules of the OSM community?

Regulation of OSM community members should be spearheaded by the OSMF, the OSM community should be seen as a friendly community that welcomes everyone from different backgrounds.

Joost Schouppe
If your first edit is met with a simple "that's wrong" it might very well be your last. OSMF could do more to make it easier to welcome new mappers. Several tools exist around the world, these should be scaled up. The new integration of local communication channels in the iD editor is of course a great step forward. I hope one day all editors will make an effort to connect mappers to the community.

About diversity: I think it starts from the bottom up. At the last SotM, there was an interesting workshop about gender and OSM. One of the take-aways from that is that it takes women leaders to attract women mappers. So we should actively encourage the women in our community to speak out and organize things the way they think is best. Actively promoting the project towards underrepresented groups is probably useful. But I think more research is needed towards root causes of underrepresentation. Only through understanding motivations, can you start to try out "marketing" strategies that speak to different people.

As for the call for "moar mappers", I've always believed that new mappers starts with new data users. As such, the fact that we got two billion new data consumers this year thanks to Facebook, is something that should not be underestimated. But not every data use is going to turn a consumer into a contributor. We should actively engage the people who make the apps to help turn their users into contributors.

Guillaume Rischard

  • How do you think OpenStreetMap can better welcome new mappers and encourage them to keep mapping, and to grow as mappers?

It should be easier to find local and new mappers, to help or get help, to welcome them or become part of the community. We could provide the community with more, better tools, and test to see what works. The work that has been done in Belgium and Switzerland is an excellent base.

  • Any opinions on diversity and how we can improve, (geographic, rich/poor, female/male, LGBT, ...)?

We shouldn't improve these just because they are good things, but because they help us create a better map.

I know how to encourage communities to get involved: the proportionally large numbers of OSMF members who have joined in France, Luxembourg and Kosovo speak for themselves.

I am planning to create a page for the MWG website that would show live statistics by country, if I can wrap my head around CiviCRM. We can learn a lot from our local communities; the Albanian one has achieved wonderful gender balance, for example. The recent fee waiver for OSMF memberships is a great thing: mappers in Kosovo joined together on the same day, and there was a fantastic motivated atmosphere in the Telegram group. I am in touch with the Somalia community to try to get mappers there to join too.

In other underrepresented countries too, systematically, we must do similar work with key people of the community to encourage long-term involvement.

  • The role of the OSMF in regulating behavior of OSM community members. Should the OSMF define behavior rules of the OSM community?

There's been a lot of talk about having a Code of Conduct lately, and while the discussion has sometimes become heated, I endorse the principle.

The community should, when necessary, define the norms necessary to make mappers feel welcome. The OSMF's role is to affirm the community consensus, but not to decide.

  • What do you intend to do about improving the infrastructure for contributors, specifically the OSM website?

Good infrastructure is necessary to lubricate the mapmaking process. OWG has become a bottleneck for improvement and creativity, with a burden too heavy on too few shoulders. Switching to https by default on openstreetmap.org took me two years of efforts (and we're still not fully there with the tiles). Andy Allan's recent heroic refactoring work will hopefully help make contributions to the website easier, but it still took Herculean efforts from him to merge the moderation queue. The website github is where pull requests go to die. The board should have a joint meeting with OWG to identify issues, offer help, and implement solutions together.

Just to be clear: I am not pointing the finger at anyone. Things would collapse if some people didn't currently dedicate a lot of their free time to keeping the infrastructure running and fighting fires.

Miriam Gonzalez

  • How do you think OpenStreetMap can embrace all kinds of mappers, from those who map for fun, to volunteers to company mapping teams to students and others?

Currently the way people communicates either by email, Telegram or text messages it is a cold way to communicate, I believe we should be doing more live events in the one people can interact and present their projects and can be questioned by an audience. I believe this way we can gather different mappers and interest and learn from each other.

  • How do you think OpenStreetMap can better welcome new mappers and encourage them to keep mapping, and to grow as mappers?

In different communities there are welcome emails mentioning forums or ways to communicate their questions or concerns, I received that and it helped me to understand better the communication channels. Maybe some automatic tool that can detect your language and will send you a welcome package in your own language will be useful. I think also it will be good to have more data when people sign up to OSM for statistical purposes (Instead of rest of the world, specify their country, gender, why they want to start mapping, etc.) with the use of statistical data we could define a better reaching strategy for the mappers.

  • Any opinions on diversity and how we can improve, (geographic, rich/poor, female/male, LGBT, ...)?

The way Geochicas is helping is in three different ways. a) Knowledge sharing- we have been giving courses about OSM and tools related so more ladies can learn from each other and improve in their jobs or projects. b) Create a safe space for collaboration- This has been giving good results in the ones different projects have been growing organically. Ladies have been more participative and taking leadership in the different projects. c)Empowering women to participate and talk in conferences and workshops- We have participated in SOTM global, Latam and organized a pre-event in Dar Es Salam, Tanzania in the one more than 30 women participated and took advantage of the networking and at the same time felt more welcome to participate in the diverse activities in FOSS4G Tanzania. I would like to see three part approach applied and adapted to diversification in other ways.

  • The role of the OSMF in regulating behavior of OSM community members.

Should the OSMF define behavior rules of the OSM community? Sometimes in Spanish my best friend said "El sentido común es el menos común" this can translate as the common sense is the least common of the senses. I believe people should manage expressing themselves without being irrespectful or rude but the culture and language barriers can represent something else so more than rules I should say guidelines that can help people to be more polite and less agressive.

Nuno Caldeira

We all started from scratch as a contributor. I believe in mentoring from older contributors can be a huge gap fill to new contributors. That helps avoid misunderstandings, incorrect edits, the way you add data and especially makes contributors better about how to map and tag data.

You & the other candidates

How well do you know the other candidates or board members? Can you say something nice about each of them?

Tobias Knerr

Of the current board members, I know Peter and Frederik best. Frederik is a veritable OSM celebrity, of course. I count myself lucky to regularly meet him at events of the German OSM community and I'm looking up to his broad knowledge, calm wisdom, and incredible work ethic. Peter is a former colleague and good friend of mine, and I'm grateful for his work on the board regarding transparency, support for open source software, and his advocacy for volunteer mappers.

With other board members and candidates, I'm familiar primarily though their past OSM work. Paul has been one of the pillars of OSM's developer community for a long time, and has been active in too many working groups and community projects to count. I've always found it pleasant to work with him when I've had the opportunity, e.g. doing EWG work. While I've encountered Guillaume only briefly during hack weekends, I've been highly impressed with his patient work on the Organized Editing Guideline. When thinking of Joost, I most strongly remember his previous run for the board, which was a welcome contrast to the heated overall atmosphere of that year's elections. I also enjoy his insightful visualizations of data on the OSM community! Martin is another cornerstone of our community, who has been part OSM for ages. In particular, I would like to thank him for the creation of MapRoulette, which I've throughly enjoyed using. Kate has been an effective chairperson who has been able to lead the board to find solutions and compromises, which I suspect wasn't always an easy task. Mikel and Heather have been very visible during their terms on the board and both have actively contributed to the membership's public discourse.

I believe I haven't met Nuno yet, although he has definitely contributed an intimidating amount of data! Likewise, I haven't had the opportunity to get familiar with Jo, Geoffrey or Miriam in the past. I'm looking forward to getting to know them better, though!

Jo Walsh
I don't know the other candidates personally. We have exchanged brief email and I've chatted with Guillaume, who seems really committed to the project. I know the three Board members who also serve on the DWG from my time contributing there, but haven't met in person, and respect and admire the effort involved for both taking flak and doing janitorial work that that role requires. I knew Mikel Maron when we were both young, hungry freelancers on the O'Reilly circuit, but it's been a long time.

Geoffrey Kateregga
I have had a chance to interact with some of the candidates and board members mostly through conferences.

Miriam Gonzalez. I met Miriam at FOSS4G in Dar es Salaam and I was inspired by her work with GeoChicas which has helped a lot to decrease  the gender gap in OSM, specifically and open geospatial technologies.

Kate Chapman. I have met Kate on two occasions, when I was fortunate to receive scholarships to attend State of the Map US in 2015 and then State of the Map Milan in 2018, I admire her for excellent leadership. As the first ED of HOT, she created an environment for building up local talent. I would be doing what I am doing now if it wasn’t for her vision.

Mikel Maron. Mikel visited Uganda with Ground Truth initiatives in 2011. Though I did not meet him then, Mikel left a long lasting effect on the OSM community in Uganda which has grown steadily since then. When we organised the State of the Map Africa conference in 2017, we got excellent support through Mikel to have a great conference.

Heather Leson. Heather is an excellent community builder who did wonderful work as chairman of board at HOT where I am a member and now for OSMF. She is one of the reasons I feel passionate about being part of OpenStreetMap.

Joost Schouppe
They are all very courageous to put themselves up for election :)

Guillaume Rischard

I've been in touch with all my fellow candidates, and spoken to all except Geoffrey in recent days. The OSMF is lucky to have such a great batch of candidates this year.

Tobias Knerr: Tobias is a gifted programmer, and spends more time on software related to OSM than mapping. He is a passionate member of the German community and a tough debater on the mailing lists. We regularly meet at the Karlsruhe Hackwochenende. I think he would be the only academic on the board if elected, which would help us in that field.

Jo Walsh: Jo is no longer an active mapper, but her involvement with OSM goes way back. We had a long conversation about OSMF governance, and her experience with charter members on osgeo (members have to be invited by another voting member to become a voting member) was interesting. The OSM policy documents she's written in the past were a precious example when I was writing the organised editing guidelines.

Geoffrey Kateregga: Geoffrey really seems like a great guy. We had a conversation about Ugandan politics and a very catchy advert song that's been turned into a protest message.

Joost Schouppe: Joost was my first choice in the election last year. He's a pillar of the Belgian community, and we have a lot to learn from their program to welcome all new mappers. He is careful in his words and actions, and would bring his wisdom to the board. It's always nice to run into him at community events.

Miriam Gonzalez: Miriam is the candidate I know the least. She's given a talk on diversity at SotM-US, and her Geochicas initiative seems to be very positive.

Nuno Caldeira: The worldwide OSM Telegram group wouldn't be the same without Nuno. His passion for the map is obvious and contagious. We started talking about the OSMF but ended up having a conversation about unusual modes of transportation and how to map them very late into the night.

Miriam Gonzalez
I just had the chance to meet personally Joost and Geoffrey. Joost has been involved in conversations in the OSM Latam group because he has been mapping for a long time different countries in Latam, I voted for him in the previous elections but unfortunately he was not elected. I just meet Geoffrey in Tanzania and attended a QGis training he gave on line. Both are very nice and intelligent people. Unfortunately I haven't meet the other candidates, I had just exchanged a couple email lines or messages with them.

Nuno Caldeira

I know a few from our Telegram group and we all want a better and bigger OSM community.

Board diversity

OSMF Board members thus far have either been from or are based in Europe, Canada, and the United States. What is your view regarding this lack of geographic diversity in the members of the Board? And if you think this is something that we should improve on, what do you think the Foundation could do to address this (probably not during this election but maybe in the future)?

Tobias Knerr

Roughly speaking, there are three distinct steps of increasing participation and commitment involved: Becoming part of the OSM community, joining the OSMF, and ultimately becoming a board member. At each of these steps, there are currently some barriers we can and should work on.

Looking at board work in particular, I believe that de-emphasizing physical board meetings (which have traditionally been held in Europe and the US) as well as synchronous communication (which causes problems to people depending on time zones, and also makes participation harder for people with time constraints or family obligations) in favour of digital and preferably asynchronous communications could contribute to making board work more globally accessible. And while the predominant use of the English language in OSMF work will likely always give at least some advantage to native speakers of that language, asynchronous communication can reduce the impact of this factor, too: It allows the use of tools such as dictionaries and machine translation, and removes listening comprehension as one of the barriers to understanding.

As Joost has shown in his recent rundown of OSMF membership rates, not all national mapper communities are equally represented among OSMF membership in the first place. This doubtlessly will also affect the composition of the board. To address this, the goal should be to enable and encourage active OSM contributors to become OSMF members. Some measures are already underway, including membership drives and the membership fee waiver programme.

Even once we manage to remove these barriers, though, North America and Europe are still likely be strongly represented on the board – although not quite to the current extreme – simply due to the relative size of their mapper communities. So to sustainably solve this disparity, a long-term solution has to start with growing the local communities of individual volunteer contributors in currently underserved areas of the world.

Jo Walsh

Geoffrey Kateregga
OSM is a global project of global contributors. All the people who map should be represented in foundation priorities. Having a diverse board will help sustain and reflect this already diverse OSM community.

To further build the diversity of local contribution, OSMF needs to support local chapters. The leaders of OSM communities in each country need to be recognized. It is when we are truly seen —recognized and acknowledged — that we will feel encouraged to step forward and run to serve on the board.

Joost Schouppe
Again, it starts from the base up. We should actively try to bring the OSMF membership towards being representative of at least the mapper base. We might even have to go a bit further, because maybe part of having less mappers somewhere is exactly because their voices are not being heard. The fee waiver program is an excelent step forward, I look forward to seeing its impact.

One problem specifically for board diversity is that at this time it is not realistical to be a board member without a very high proficiency of the English language. The same probably goes for participating in OSMF in general. I don't really know how to fix this, but we should at least do some experiments.

A second is that it takes a lot of time and a huge amount of energy to be part of it. That might help explain why there are so many board members with professional interest in OSM. Businesses and NGOs are our primary source of exposure to large audiences, so there is obviously a symbiotic relationship. But we're a volunteer project that impacts professionals, not a professional project maintained by crowdsourcing.

From the majority of the volunteers we will never ever hear something at OSMF policy making level. We could be doing more to cast a wider net of participation. I like the recent shift to having questionaires to try and do that.

BTW, I did a basic analysis of OSMF geographic diversity on my diary - call me old school but I like fact-based discussions.


Guillaume Rischard

I've voted for non-Western candidates in the past, unfortunately they didn't get elected.

A large and diverse membership is the key here. When you look at the OSMF membership statistics, you'll see we've come a long way! On a board of 7, no matter how you cut it, you will always find underrepresented blocks; we shouldn't feel threatened if no one from our minority group is on the board.

I am opposed to the idea of circumscriptions because they would be easy to game and favour clientelism. We must be careful not to polarise the community by having board members representing only sizeable minorities; we represent the whole map and every mapper. Instead, we must encourage local communities to grow and give a greater voice to local chapters.

I have experience growing the community and the OSMF membership in various countries, and every place needs different solutions. But it's a lot of fun!

Miriam Gonzalez
Having geographic diversity is very important because every region will be having different needs and concerns and the map will be reflecting that, if we have a diverse geographic community all the data gathered in the map will be richer than having people from just one single localtion. On the other hand having ideas from people from different geographies will have a richer conversation that might be lead to more actions in the benefit of OpenStreetMap . I can be part of that change in this election, I consider myself a Glocal citizen because I had the opportunity to live in different parts of the globe including China, France, UK, USA and Mexico. I consider this give me an advantage to understand better the cultures and geographical differences.

Nuno Caldeira

From my point of view, a mandatory system where the board members would represent a geographical quota would not be the best, as it would reflect a spatial repartition of the board, without taking into account the number of contributors. It is important to include regions than Europe/Canada and America, but i believe it must be in the interest of the individual to run for the board for what they can contribute and simply not just due to their geographical location.

Conflicts of interest

What, if any, conflicts of interest do you have that would affect you if you were on the board? Are you an employee of, member of, or otherwise affiliated with a company, government organization or non-profit that does work in OSM?

Tobias Knerr

I'm not affiliated with any company, government organization or non-profit that does work in OSM.

Although I do not forsee any conflict of interest arising from my employment, though, it's certainly not impossible. For example, my employer is involved in research projects in fields adjacent to geospatial data, such as self-driving cars. I believe that a conflict of interest disqualifies a board member from using their voting rights and other privileges in the board's decision-making process, and will therefore make sure to evaluate any issues brought before the board for the potential of a CoI.

As I consider a definition of CoI that only relates to employment to be too narrow, I would also refrain from acting as a board member regarding topics directly related to my volunteer open source projects.

Jo Walsh
I don't do any commercial work involving OSM and can't think of any issue on which I would have to recuse myself from Board discussions or decisions. My colleagues at the British Geological Survey organise occasional mapathons in areas where BGS is engaged with overseas development projects, but there is no obligation or incentive to attend them.

Geoffrey Kateregga
I work for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team where I serve in two roles as the GIS lead on a project in Uganda and as the Community Programs Assistant in the global team providing training to global OSM community projects and volunteers. I am also the Chairman MapUganda, an NGO founded by the local OpenStreetMap community in Uganda. Because these two organisations do work around OSM, I will refrain from taking part in any OSMF decision making when there any hint of a conflict of interest between me as an OSMF board director and my other work, and I would take guidance from others if I was unsure about anything.

Joost Schouppe
My work is sufficiently independent from OSM to ensure this won't be a problem. I work for local government, working on very local statistics for policymakers.  I do have a reverse conflict of interest sometimes, where I try to convince colleagues to try OSM for their problems at work.

Guillaume Rischard

None. I work as a data consultant, but most of my projects are not map-related. On the other hand, while I was consulting on our open data portal, my interest in OSM and maps made Luxembourg's geographical data some of the most open in the world.

During the organised editing guideline process, everyone on the board argued about conflicts of interest. One board member, who couldn't vote because of a conflict of interest, argued for changes to the guidelines that would have watered them down. At this level, even the appearance of impropriety is regrettable in most cultures, condemned in mine.

I am used to dealing conflicts of interest properly outside of OSM. On a recent meeting of a commission of the City of Luxembourg, we had to take a decision that would affect a family member. I simply left the meeting for a few minutes, as we commonly do in those cases. Similarly, I don't do any business in Kosovo, where my girlfriend works for the Luxembourg embassy.

I support clear rules on conflicts of interest for the board.

Miriam Gonzalez
I don't have any conflict of interest. If I become employee of a company that relies on OSM I can inform it.

Nuno Caldeira

I am a Mapillary ambassador, the company did not ask me to run for the board, neither paid my fee. I have zero commercial interest in OSM data for my work as i contribute to OSM as i believe base maps should be independent and not controlled by corporations or institutions. My decisions as a member of the board will never be influenced by third parties or interests, as i believe OSMF must be neutral.

Your opinion on Term limits for board members?

Discussed plenty of times, non-binding vote from the members with 56% majority for term limits in 2014, expressed intend of the board to act on this but with no results.

Tobias Knerr

I'm not convinced that term limits solve any existing issues with the composition of the board. New members have joined the board on a regular basis, and this year will be no exception, as no incumbents are running for re-election.

From my point of view, the main issue with the board's current composition is a disproportionate influence of corporations and other organized groups compared to individual volunteers, and term limits do little to address these concerns. Instead, limiting the number of board members who may be affiliated with the same organization would be a more effective improvement.

Despite my personal opinion, I still feel that term limits should be implemented due to the demonstrated preference of the membership. I would like to introduce this reform, alongside other updates to the election process, within the next year.

Jo Walsh
I am in favour of term limits for Directors.

Geoffrey Kateregga
I come from a country where the president has changed the constitution by removing term limits to necessitate himself to stay in power forever even after ruling for 32 years. Seeing what this leads to in my country, I think it’s very necessary to have term limits for the OSMF board, however the time should be enough to allow for mentoring where the new members need to learn from the long serving members. A maximum of a 4 years term limit is ideal.

Joost Schouppe
I think some form of term limits are necessary. It risks losing the experience of some of the hard core contributors that are crazy enough to still even want to keep doing it. But at some point new hands are just necessary.

Guillaume Rischard
We have a strange system of variable length terms where the oldest third of the board comes up for re-election, no matter how long those board members have been on the board. I see a risk in the board deciding itself who can run for it. Still, no one should stay on the board forever. This is just one of the many criterias and rules on how we elect the board. It's an interesting and necessary debate, but ultimately, it's up to the members.

Miriam Gonzalez
Please check this answer in my diary (answer provided after deadline)

Nuno Caldeira

I agree with Term limits for board members as it makes the foundation more diverse in the long term.

Your opinion on Paid staff

Currently we have only part time admin assistent and accounting. - Do you want to keep this? Hire more people? If yes for what? Or reduce paid work again in favour of volunteer work?

Tobias Knerr

I'm somewhat torn on the issue of paid staff. It is obvious that both administrative tasks and development work could benefit a lot from full-time contributors. Experience shows that major projects from the open source and open data worlds tend to eventually come to rely on paid work to an extent (although professional contributors need not necessarily be employed by a single organization), and there are some good reasons for this. Important work is sometimes neither fun nor inherently profitable, and payment can ensure that it still gets done reliably.

At the same time, there are considerable risks involved with creating paid positions. Increased spending makes the OSMF dependent on the goodwill and financial support of wealthy backers. The people holding paid positions would also wield considerable influence themselves, through access to core infrastructure and as a consequence of spending far more time on shaping the project than others possibly can. Compounding all this is the difficulty in going back to volunteer work once we've created a paid position for a particular task. Realistically, the decision to hire people is a one-way street.

There are strategies that might help mitigate the downsides of paid work: Some expertise, such as legal services, can be obtained only when needed. This has been done in the past, and I strongly prefer this approach where it makes sense. Recruiting from long-term community members could make it more likely that people in influential positions understand and respect the project's principles. And ensuring that paid staff ultimately answers to volunteers could hopefully avoid a situation where OSMF employees fancy themselves leaders, rather than servants, of the OSM community.

Overall, I believe there are no easy answers on this topic. The following is how I plan to act on the board, though:

  • I will keep existing paid positions intact. Specifically, I think Dorothea is doing highly valuable work in her admin assistant position.
  • I will not, personally, push for additional paid positions in the OSMF. If my fellow board members want to go down that road, though, I will constructively work with them to make the endeavor a success.
  • I will oppose any attempt to install paid management or leadership positions.

Jo Walsh
It makes sense to pay for administrative support as happens now. I would not seek to hire more people to work for OSMF. There's a risk that anyone employed in an executive role would end up fundraising to support their own position, and could sap volunteer effort at communications. The anarchic and shoe-string nature of OSM gives it strength.

Geoffrey Kateregga
We need to keep this and also hire more people. One of the reasons why the OSM community in Africa has not grown at the same pace as in Europe or the US is because volunteering is not so easy in some parts of the world. People are willing to volunteer but they lack even basic needs to be able to do so. I believe if done properly an increase in paid staff will not compromise the involvement of volunteers, and can actively encourage it to grow. I would like to take guidance from organisations who have successfully achieved this before to see what lessons learned we can apply to OSM.

Joost Schouppe
While I am proud to be able to say "look, and all of this was achieved with just one paid staffer", I do think we could get more things done with more professional help. I think the first priority would probably be project management: helping others get stuff done. This means helping out with reporting, planning, organising. Paid staff is there to make the life of core volunteers easier, not to replace them.

Guillaume Rischard

Dorothea is a treasure. Being able to rely on her neutrality and professionalism is wonderful. I met our accountant Michelle in Milan, and she's a smart person who thinks ahead to make the work of volunteers easier.

We must absolutely keep this.

If we do hire employees or contractors, it should only be for tasks that volunteers haven't been able to get done. The MWG, for example, has a backlog of new memberships to sign up to the osmf-talk mailing list.

I wouldn't want the OSMF to become one of those big bureaucratic NGOs. Volunteers must remain at the core of what we do. It was like that, for example, that the recent mass sign-up of 100 new members near the election cut-off date was noticed.

Miriam Gonzalez

  • Your opinion on Paid staff

I support having paid staff, there is a lot of administrative work a volunteer will be discouraged to do, from my opinion this is a good way to have more control and communicate better to a large audience.

  • Currently we have only part time admin assistant and accounting. - Do you want to keep this? Hire more people? If yes for what? Or reduce paid work again in favour of volunteer work?

I suggest to keep it and then evaluate if more positions are needed.

Nuno Caldeira

I agree with the current situation, mostly based on volunteer.

Your opinion on Organized editing

Do you think the OSMF should regulate this and if yes what do you think should a regulation look like? What do you think of the approach the OSMF has taken on the matter so far? (Background: see history and recent developments here and here)

Tobias Knerr

When done correctly, organized editing can be very beneficial to OSM. In the past, though, some organized editing efforts have suffered from low data quality, non-standard tagging, and poor or non-existing communications with local volunteer mappers.

For individual volunteers, it is easy to feel helpless and frustrated when faced with a coordinated group making unwelcome changes. Because of this power imbalance, I strongly believe that organized editing needs to be held to a higher standard than regular contributions to the map. Previous discussions and the DWG's 2017 survey clearly demonstrate community support for the OSMF to act on the matter.

Because of my interest in the issue, I've closely followed the current DWG-led process to introduce Organised Editing Guidelines. In 2017, I was involved with creating the German community's policy draft, which contributed to getting the current effort underway. And although I'm very concerned about the circumstances that led to an almost year-long revision process without further public community consultation, and would have preferred a document more in line with the original DWG draft, I'm happy that the board has finally voted to accept the DWG's latest version of the Organised Editing Guidelines. It will be interesting to observe the effects of the new guidelines in the next months.

Jo Walsh
I feel the draft Directed Editing guidelines as they stand are too broad. One set of social requirements can't cover both small research projects, and companies with employees paid to edit OSM. The DWG should have the tools and the autonomy it needs to do the job, but it should be clearer what the job is. The companies involved should have a path to more actively supporting the project and the foundation, which the guidelines provide a good start at.

Geoffrey Kateregga
There is scarcity of OSM data in very significant in many parts of the world and in many locations it’s through organized editing that the gap is being closed in addition to the community contributions. I am happy with the current approach that the OSMF has taken so far, the Organized Editing Guidelines are a good way to regulate the mapping which should be seen as a way to complement the community edits. I think Organised Editing Guideline needs to be kept lightweight enough that it does not create a barrier for mappers, but robust enough that their activities are very clear to others.

Joost Schouppe
I think the approved guidelines are pretty good, and that the process we went through to write them is as good as is feasible with current means. As a mapathon organizer myself, I do see some problematic requirements, but nothing that can't be solved. As a local mapper, I feel saveguarded by these guidelines. If the policy leads to problems in practice, they can always be amended.

Guillaume Rischard

The last link in the question goes to my report on the subject.

The OSMF board has since approved the guidelines.

I think it's important, as an open project, that we state our expectations on the topic clearly. This provides safety and confidence to both organised editors and the rest of the community. Arbitrary rules that constantly change would provide the opposite.

The guidelines are the result of DWG's experience, and a long process of consultation, consensus and compromise. They should be reevaluated once we can judge what impact they've had, not before.

The guidelines have been misrepresented as both draconian and toothless. They are neither: they allow gentle guidance before any enforcement, and provide a blueprint for good organised edits. They expect best effort, but problematic edits, editors and groups of editors can, if necessary, be stopped. Ultimately, they hand power to the community: there is no better choice than to constructively interact with it.

Miriam Gonzalez

Please check this answer in my diary (answer provided after deadline)

Nuno Caldeira

To maintain neutrality and the truth of the OSM data, we should regulate this procedure, to avoid issues of manipulation of that data. Or at least to be aware that that data was added by a paid contributor to be validated by the general community.

Deciding on who gets grants

While the details remain unclear, sometime during the upcoming year the OSMF will start distributing "micro-grants" (which may be will not be so micro relative to local purchasing power).

  • What kind of projects and topics should be supported in such a programme (please as concrete as possible)?
  • Who (as in which body of the OSMF) should determine who receives the grants?

Tobias Knerr

I have, so far, remained somewhat sceptical about the micro-grant idea due to the numerous open questions that have yet to be addressed by its proponents.

If we are to implement monetary grants, it is important to ensure that the supported projects have measurable goals that allow us to gauge how the funds are being spent, and that they go beyond regular OSM contributions such as mapping. The people involved in a project supported by micro-grants must have a history of volunteer OSM activity; I'm less concerned with whether or not they are OSMF members.

I do not have a narrow thematic focus for the micro-grants in mind, and if we are able to resolve the open issues, I would be willing to allow experimentation with a relatively wide range of project types – ranging from mapping parties to coding sprints to obtaining imagery – in order to help us discover what works and what doesn't. Still, any funded initiatives must be in line with the values of OSM, and if an OSMF grant supports the creation of content, data or software, the results need to be published using an open license.

The most sensitive issue about micro-grants is the responsibility of picking the recipients. In particular, the appointment of a selection committee – a body whose sole purpose is decision making – is somewhat in contradiction with do-ocracy ideals, where decision-making power should arise organically from a person's contributions to the project. The associated risks can be limited by assembling a group of long-standing contributors temporarily for this purpose, instead of making it a permanent institution. We still need to proceed with caution, and ensure that the grant process is transparent by design and allows for the OSM community's input.

Jo Walsh

Micro-grants are an exciting development for the OSMF! I have no experience of managing such a scheme but what I've read suggests a "review committee" who rate proposals is a good way to decide what projects get approved. I would set the number of members high, suggest that local user groups put forward volunteers to serve on it, and have a geographic quota to ensure diversity of interests.

https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/finances/invest-in-community-resources/microgrant/main

Geoffrey Kateregga
From my experience working with Microgrants through HOT, I think the funded programs should be those that innovatively use OSM to solve local problems. As for who should determine who receives the grants, I think the wider OSM community should be involved. Just like the way OSM Awards are done, the community should be engaged in voting for the best projects. In addition, Microgrants should be run through mentorships so as to produce the best outcomes.

Joost Schouppe
OSMF should first decide what exactly it wants to achieve with the grants project. One interesting idea that came up on the Adivsory Board, was that it could serve trust-building. Take a large idea, define a cheap first step, provide the funds, analyse result. If the result is positive and highlighted, that would help with finding further funds.

Personally, I think these funds should be used for two main purposes:

- to help kick off startup OSM communities. Mappers who want to organize their first events, who need better mapping tools, who can't otherwise visit events, etc.

- to get community priorities done that don't happen by themselves. There are several stalled projects which could be fixed with relatively small investments.

We should not take such a project lightly. For HOT, a similar project meant a half-time equivalent to just keep it running. So we might have to allocate funds to a project manager. The decision-making itself could then be a lighter job. As to who should actually make the final decisions - I would ideally see a democratic voting system by the wider community. But we'd have to see what works in practice.

Guillaume Rischard

We should have a working group on grants, with support from Dorothea. The guidelines on who gets grants should be decided after a discussion with the community. Regularly, the working group should produce reports, and reevaluate its own guidelines.

We need to support infrastructure and communities sustainably, not pay people to map. In evaluating the grants, we must be able to measure outcomes, not output.

Supporting local chapters can encourage them to form and creating an effective driver for change. Microgrants can buy coffee and cake for an OSMF sign-up party, although that should be exceptional.

Miriam Gonzalez

  • What kind of projects and topics should be supported in such a programme (please as concrete as possible)?

Community - Support communities who are enthusiastic about organizing activities but are located in countries or regions with economic challenges.

New Mapping tools - Support the test and improvement from current tools and technologies in areas with less data available to be able to improve it with human+machine workflows.

Diversity - Support projects who are focus in improving the gender diversity and balance in OSM

  • Who (as in which body of the OSMF) should determine who receives the grants?

I consider it will be good to have a group of volunteers within each working group that can read the applications and define who are the best candidates to be supported.

Nuno Caldeira

I believe grants must be attributed to those that are promoting the usage and awareness of OSM in continents like Africa or South America. The work HOTOSM as been doing is important, but its even more important being on the ground aiding different wars, either social, environmental or health situations.

Due diligence reverting edits

How much due diligence should OSM expect from mappers before they revert additions to the map?

Tobias Knerr

Having changes reverted can feel very unwelcoming to a contributor, and therefore must be handled with great care. Even justified reverts can put people off, especially if they are poorly communicated. Any mapper considering a revert should therefore research the situation thoroughly before proceeding (e.g. having a look at the history of the data, understanding the relevant tagging standards, and being aware of possible on-the-ground changes relative to imagery sources), and should start friendly communications with the other party.

At the same time, reverts are a necessary tool in any wiki-style project, and allowing data quality to degrade through unchecked contributions would destroy the motivation of the original contributors. Likewise, spending a lot of time investigating problematic changes and doing clean-up work are emotionally draining tasks. So if a contributor is overwhelmed with low-quality changes to their areas of interest, it is important that they can get support from the community or working groups.

Standards need to be higher for imports and organized editing: These contributions must start out at a level of quality that does not require cleanup by local volunteers. Also, many of the principles mentioned above do not apply to straightforward spam or vandalism.

Overall, however, I feel that this is not the kind of issue that should regularly be brought before the board. The board might occasionally be involved in editing-related issues, e.g. when hearing appeals. But quality maintenance, including reverts, should be performed by the community in a local and decentralized manner, with some help from OSMF working groups where necessary.

Jo Walsh
I'm not sure what this question means. No-one should revert lightly, and we should try to assume good intent.

Geoffrey Kateregga
Just like for imports, I think it is necessary to discuss a revert on the country’s mailing list before a revert is made. The mapper making the edits should be contacted but also the other members of the local OSM community should be brought into the discussion. This will also help the mapper to refrain from making wrong edits in the future.

Joost Schouppe
Reverting should not be done lightly. There might be some useful info among the many errors. The best way to make sure you don't make mistakes when reverting, is by sharing the burden. In Belgium, we generally do not revert without consulting the chat-group, where most heavy mappers hang out. There are however some people who check each and every edit by new mappers. I understand they get tired of explaining the same things again and again. I think a good way to deal with this is when one person does the pure quality control, and someone else does the welcoming and some feedback on the mapping itself.

Guillaume Rischard
We must always assume good intentions. I think that our current set of guidelines work quite well. If you're interested in this, have you considered joining the Data Working Group?

Miriam Gonzalez

Please check this answer in my diary (answer provided after deadline)

Nuno Caldeira

Reverting bad edits or vandalism should be as soon as possible. however in the case of bad edits, there should be a discussion on the changeset to clear the incorrect edits, if no proper justification or explanation in 3 days, the changeset should be reverted. More experienced contributors should be granted access to revert immediately, to avoid incorrect reverts.

Criticism on social media

How would you respond to sustained criticism of OSM on Twitter or other social media? How would you support anyone targeted by the criticism?

Tobias Knerr
OpenStreetMap is, by no means, perfect. Both internal and external criticism can help us grow as a community. In most cases, it is perfectly sufficient for members of our community to engage in the communication as individuals. PR work tends to be a grassroots activity in OSM, much like everything else.

On occasion, it will be necessary for OSMF bodies, such as CWG or the board, to speak up to present the project's point of view. When OSM or its contributors are subject to attacks and hostility, it is the board's responsibility to stand firmly behind the project and targeted individuals.

Jo Walsh
Of course I would try to be calm and measured, but a Board member would likely have to say less about OSM related controversy on social media, and avoid being seen as speaking for the OSMF. This question reminded me of this humorous article about the Snapchat controversy, and I found my take was predictable: https://medium.com/@vtcraghead/all-the-takes-youre-about-to-see-on-the-nyc-snapchat-map-vandalism-c0e73010e90b

Geoffrey Kateregga

However bad the message may be, It’s crucial to stay positive in the face of criticism. I would respond by addressing the issue, offer a solution, and give further options for follow up on the issue at hand.

Joost Schouppe
OSM can be a harsh place. I strongly believe that this is a bug, not a feature. Our way of dealing with each other is damaging to the project. Trying to do something about that may drive away the few who refuse to be reflexive about their tone, but we drive away the "softer" people all the time. However, this is something we should discuss on OpenStreetMap, and not something to shout about in media where nuance is hard to impossible (hello Twitter) to people who don't know what you are on about.

This question is of course founded on a very specific case. This case was a very high profile person making a very personal interpretation about a very complicated situation in a very condensed way. In this situation, in absence of an apology or a more elaborated expression of the same opinion, and after direct contact with the person who made the statement didn't help, I would have voted to put up a public rebutal of the statement.

Guillaume Rischard

Constructive criticism is good. Whether I agree with what's being said or not, I like that lively debate is usually how we handle things.

There's recently been a lot of anger directed at us over the Crimea situation. Even Ukraine's ambassador to the UK has regrettably urged her Twitter followers to lobby the OSMF. The campaigns against the OSMF and DWG and personal attacks on fellow DWG members are not helping, and I hope that the Ukrainian community will join me in condemning them. The map of the battlefield isn't the battlefield.

Miriam Gonzalez

Please check this answer in my diary (answer provided after deadline)

Nuno Caldeira

Communication is crucial, especially with the media. OSM image must not be affected and try to remain neutral in controversial issues. Criticism must be answered by decision of the board and not as an individual member of the board.

Manifestos

Tobias Knerr

OpenStreetMap has been a big part of my life since 2008, when I started mapping my local area armed with a GPS logger. Aerial imagery was barely availble back then, and most of the map was still empty.

Over the years, OSM has made amazing progress: Our tools have become both more powerful and easier to use, enabling more people than ever to contribute. Our community has become more numerous and more diverse, spanning the entire globe. We've been accepted as an excellent choice by professional map users, and in many cases, these users are actively contributing back to the project. And while we still do have a lot of challenges ahead, ranging from disagreements over tagging issues, to implementing long-awaited updates for our data model, to making the difficult transition from initial data acquisition to long-term maintenance, I'm confident that our community has the strength to tackle them.

What has me concerned, though, is the future role of the OSMF. I've been a foundation member for almost as long as I've been a mapper, and there has always been a bit of a separation between the foundation and the community. More recently, though, the OSMF has struggled to implement some policies despite broad support among volunteer contributors, and I worry that the gap between foundation and community may become wider as professional data users become a more important part of the OSM landscape. I would consider it my core priority as a board member to strengthen the influence of volunteers in the OSMF.

The role of the OSMF is to serve the entire OSM project. This includes both volunteers and commercial efforts, and it includes mappers, developers, artists, and many other contributors who bring their own particular skills to the table. For the most part, it succeeds in striking a balance between these interests.

However, organisations do presently wield a disproportionate influence on the board and the project as a whole compared to individual volunteers: Most members of the current board are affiliated with a company or humanitarian organization involved in OSM. While these organisations' contributions to OSM are amazing, and having their unique perspective represented in the OSMF and on the board is vital, I want to ensure that this does not happen to the exclusion of volunteers' points of views and interests.

I must emphasize that I do not believe this imbalance to be a result of any actors operating in bad faith. Rather, I consider it a natural result of policital dynamics: A properly organized group of people will always tend to wield political influence more effectively than a crowd of individuals without the benefit of organization, all else being equal. To balance this tendency, I believe the OSMF needs to make some adjustments:

  • Extend OSMF membership to all active mappers. The best way to guarantee that the OSMF will act in the interest of the OSM community is to make sure the community gets to vote. My goal is to reduce financial and organizational hurdles for volunteer contributors to become OSMF members. At the same time, a prospective member's OSM account name should always be part of the OSMF signup process, and publishing the account names of associated members will improve transparency while still allowing for pseudonymous privacy.
  • Handle Conflicts of Interest responsibly. The board's Rules of Order ask board members with a conflict of interest to recuse themselves from voting. However, this rule remains vague, and the board has sometimes struggled to implement it. I will work with the community and my fellow board members to more clearly define conflicts of interest and board members' expected behavior.
  • Limit board members from the same org to 1 seat. Millions of individuals, and thousands of organizations, use and contribute to OSM. It is my belief that no single organization's contributions to OSM justify holding 30%, or more, of the seats on the board. Limiting the number of seats held by people associated with any single entity will improve the diversity of backgrounds represented on the board.
  • Discourage companies from exerting influence through employees' memberships. Individuals should join the OSMF out of their own initiative, not as part of a group. Companies, therefore, should not sponsor their employees' memberships or provide voting recommendations. It is important that we communicate our expectations clearly, and hold companies from the OSM ecosystem to that ethical standard. Coordinated signups of large numbers of new members should be investigated.
  • Improve transparency and community involvement. The board and working groups should actively solicit community input at an early stage, instead of working on ideas behind closed doors.

Although volunteer representation is what I've chosen to focus on in my manifesto, it is by no means the only important issue facing the OSMF. I invite you to read through my responses to the official questions to learn about my positions, and to contact me with any additional questions and concerns!

Jo Walsh

Geoffrey Kateregga

OpenStreetMap is not just a map but a community, and that is what inspires me, to be part of this diverse community that continues to grow everyday. When I started mapping in 2012, my interest was just adding things to the map - but I soon realised that OSM is a collaborative effort, and had to change my focus into community building, training mappers more so through universities. When I joined HOT in 2014, I got the opportunity to train and mentor mappers in other countries outside my home country Uganda.

What really opened my eyes and realise the real potential of OpenStreetMap was attending State of the Map US 2015, listening to all those talks and interacting with different mappers, I realized that there was a big job to do back home. In 2016, I helped found a continent-wide collaboration of OSM communities in Africa. OSM Africa was built with the aim of joining hands, to learn from one another, share resources and encourage active OSM participation communities in Africa in the OSM Foundation by increasing membership and opening up of more official local chapters. And In 2017 we organized State of the Map Africa 2017 in Kampala Uganda, where I served as the chairman Local Organizing Committee.

If elected, I would like to devote my energy into community building through the Local Chapters Working Group and the Microgrants program if it comes to life. There is a need to start up communities where they don’t exist and encourage them to grow into Local Chapters by providing them with clear How To guides on how to get started copying a leaf from already existing chapters. The existing chapters should be encouraged to mentor other local communities, to help them get on their feet. The Microgrant program, will not only empower local communities to solve local challenges using OpenStreetMap but will also give them visibility and help them grow.

I am excited to be running for the OSMF board, and I am looking forward to your questions and comments.

Joost Schouppe

I think my main added value to the board would be that most people feel like I would take their point of view seriously. I think and hope I could be someone everyone feels they can talk to. While I do have personal ambitions for my work on the Board, I think my biggest contribution might be to bridge gaps between the fragments of our community.

If I don't make it in the elections, these would be my two main projects to continue on:

   - relaunching the Local Chapters Working Group as a Community Working Group. Bringing together new people, allow them to work in ways that THEY like, and use that to support other working groups. Not just with the actual work, but also supporting them in growing their own volunteer base.

   - OSM-science: too much of our discussions are based on assumptions, and too much research about OSM does not help the community. I'm involved in projects that try to bridge that gap

Personal priorities

Being a member of the board means being part of a community. So a personal election platform sounds wrong to me. But for you as a voter, it's good to have an idea of what I think is important.

First comes growing the community. For me that means supporting local volunteers - which is why I am enthousiastic about the microgrants project. There are many relatively simple things that could help community builders everywhere (here's a collection of ideas I worked on), for a more recent version check the penultimate slide here. As a board member I would focus on finding more such ideas - and help turn them into realities. To get more things done, we need more people.

One of the most important things we can do to grow the volunteer base, is try to be a club you want to join. Too often I've heard people reluctant to get involved in OSMF because the climate is so hostile. We should find ways to shield people from all the politics and still be able to help in a meaningful way. We should try to be more reflexive about the way we say things. The "big names" in our community should realize the weight to their words. It is never going to be easy, since there are great differences in our philosophies towards OSM. But even though OSM is a deadly serious thing, we should **never forget that people contribute because it’s fun**. A new mapper picks it up because they enjoy fixing that first mistake. Just as important is that an advanced mapper can keep enjoying the hard work they do. It should be just as enjoyable to become more active in the community.

To make a map for the whole world, we need to hear everyone's voice. At the very least, the voices of OSMF should reflect volunteers from all over the world to the same degree (I wrote a short article on that recently). We should experiment with ways to achieve this, even if it seems an impossible goal.

  * How can we reach more non-English speakers, and how do we break the dominance of those that are fluent in English? In Belgium, a third language was part of the solution to surmount the language divide between French and Dutch speakers. But even so, we noticed we were excluding those who weren’t so good at foreign languages. So we communicate in three languages - it’s a lot of work, but it is necessary.

  * Communication isn’t just about languages, but also about bridging the gap between cultures. We should be aware of the gaping holes in our understanding of each other, be it based on education, culture or gender. We should be more active in helping people learn to do this, and avoid pointless arguing. Maybe we can get outside expertise on intercultural communication.

  * The medium is the message. We should explore more media than just mailing lists. Every medium shapes the conversation that happens in it. Different people prefer different channels. As a Board member, I would actively encourage ways to get more community input towards policy making, be it through surveys, collaborative writing, structured discussion (e.g. Kialo) or just being someone you can talk to.

More about me

Since joining OpenStreetMap, I’ve found myself on a slippery slope of ever stronger engagement to the project. Not only have I been mapping at least every other day, I’ve grown into being a community organizer. At first I was mostly interested in South America, where it felt like OSM has a much larger niche to fill than in Europe. I didn't start off as an open source and open data enthusiast, but as someone **crazy about maps**. As a sociologist and data analyst I was fascinated by the data and the people behind it. I liked the way OpenStreetMap could solve real problems, and enjoyed being part of those solutions. It was always a team effort, it seemed logical that we should build the map together.

Building OpenStreetMap Belgium, we worked with crafty local mappers, while supporting like-minded people around the world. We helped the development of what tools we could make with our local community, instead of complaining about the lack of global solutions. We had beers (and tea) together, to put faces to the usernames. We worked on humanitarian mapping to build consciousness about the project and to create a network of volunteers. We worked with open data - as just another tool to improve OSM. We worked with local government and other organizations to increase our visibility - using their networks for exposure, instead of having to build one from scratch. We worked on larger events - they would have been a failure without Ben’s sense of responsibility and the network of volunteers we grew during the mapathons. We worked on our online presence, with a nice website, a single point of contact for questions about OSM in Belgium, a newsletter. Recently, we became a local chapter. We feel how more and more people started taking the project seriously.

This approach has been quite successful, and I would like to apply that experience to the entire project. It means focusing on growing the number of volunteers and letting them grow in their roles. It means sharing the work as much as possible, but still make sure things get done. I think I have been instrumental in this process in Belgium, and I believe I could help the OSMF realize more of its plans.

For more about OSM Belgium, check out OSM.be

For more about me, check out my OSM profile

Guillaume Rischard

A lot of topics are covered in the questions above, so it's a shorter manifesto, or really what's left on my mind after answering everything. For ease of reading, I'll gather all my answers on one page

If you've made it down this far, you obviously enjoy reading. Here is my 2016 manifesto. Re-reading it, the only thing that's changed is that Apple and Facebook now support OpenStreetMap.

The map, however, has changed faster than ever. Even across the wild diversity of osm, trends dominate. The world's biggest companies now show up at our conferences. Did you know why Apple uses OSM in Denmark? We are now the best map in many places around the globe, which changes the dynamic completely.

Level playing field

The OSMF must provide the fertile ground for the best map to grow, and where constructive dialogue between actors can take place. We are more attractive for any actors if they trust that our structures aren't capturable by special interests, but fairly and transparently regulated to create the best possible map. We must reduce the tensions and uncertainty that undermine trust.

Recent groups of sign-ups and allegations of voting recommendations have been controversial.

The current articles of association would not prevent a hostile mass sign-up. MWG should be consulted and collaborate with the community to introduce a solid but appropriate package of measures to prevent all kinds of electoral fraud and regulatory capture. This would safeguard confidence and make us less vulnerable. Board members would, of course, not take part in that process.

Only a vast and diverse participation of passionate mappers who are engaged in the OSMF’s mission can make us impossible to hijack. I ask every OSMF member to help get getting other mappers to join, increasing our membership numbers.

Board transparency

I've discovered that the board can do a lot of things outside of the board meetings, often out of the public eye. Circulars are, under certain circumstances, not made public. Efforts must be made to increase transparency on this.

Working groups

One constant of volunteers and working groups is that they are overloaded; I've mentioned OWG and MWG in my answers above. The OSMF can and should do more to support and help them, including getting help from the outside when there is no alternative.

(If you're reading this, please join the working groups! Please!)

Miriam Gonzalez

My name is Miriam Gonzalez, you can find me in OSM and Social Networks as Mapanauta , I would like to present myself as candidate for the 2018 OSMF Board Elections. I have been participating in OSM since 2014 in Mexico, Latin America and now Geochicas by being the link with Open Data players such as Government, Companies and activist by organizing mapping events and outreach activities.

It was 2013 when I first hear about OpenStreetMap, when I saw the data available in OSM for  Mexico (my home country) and other places in Latin America and compare with other countries, I became very frustrated with the lack of data available in the region, so I started looking for the mappers in Mexico and try to see what we could do together to improve the map. Along the way I had the chance to meet amazing people like Ulimaps, Leo, Rubén, Irk_ley, Edgar and specially Mapeadora and we started organizing mapathons and talks in Universities and Government events to make them aware about the importance of Open Data and OpenStreetMap. These events had as much as 90 people and we were between six and eight people from the local community coordinating these efforts.

I also had the chance to be involved in a Boundaries Import Project using INEGI data and helped to coordinate Humanitarian mapping for Hurricane Patricia and the Earthquakes of September 2017. This participation helped to be recognized by the President of Mexico in the Internet Day as one of the 50 Digital leaders in the country. I don't have a technical background but my interest to understand more the topics oriented to OSM and other technologies lead me to study Geomatics in the National University of Mexico (UNAM).

As you can see from my editions I focus my mapping on humanitarian efforts. And then spend a lot of my time in community building, teaching and sharing the knowledge with people that doesn't have a clue about OSM, share the passion of million of mappers and make them understand the importance of OpenData. Along with Mapeadora and Selene Yang we raised the concern of having only a small number of female mappers in Latam and two years ago we gather for the first time in State of the Map Latam in Sao Paulo, we named ourselves Geochicas, it has been a beautiful+crazy ride, now after just two years we have Geochicas participating in four different continents  and more than 180 people is subscribed in our Telegram group.

Why I should be elected?

If I am elected I would like to work in the following topics:

  • Keep improving the local communities especially in countries with different needs than the ones in the Northern hemisphere.
  • Reduce the gender gap so women and other communities feel more welcome to participate in the project.
  • Support new mapping techniques, developing good human-machine workflows, that keep a human oriented map made better by machine power.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my manifesto

Miriam

@mapanauta

P.S. I hope the buildings I have added to OSM are square enough for most of the members :P

Nuno Caldeira

Introduction

I starting adding stuff to OSM in 2011 on an account that died when OSM switched from CC to OBDL. Since   2012 I been adding a lot of stuff on my homeland of Madeira among other places during HOTOSM tasks. In 2015 I co-organized the III OpenStreetMap Party of Madeira ,in the municipality of Calheta.Since 2016 I'm an ambassador of Mapillary and avid contributor with over 500.000 photos and try to help others doing tutorials and such.

I translate a lot of apps and OpenStreetMap related websites such as OSM, Vespucci,StreetComplete,Pic4review,amongothers (my username in transifex is NunoCaldeira).

To sum it up I try to promote Opendata, OSM and contribute at the same time with focus on tools that can improve and add more data to OSM.

Statement

I strongly believe we continue with the collective effort of making the best open geo data, improve the way users learn, the way OSMF supports projects and to elucidate what OSMF does in a simple way. I express my concerns of the increasing number of apps and websites that are not showing attribution on the maps that contains freely but show some of academic principals and show what's the source of the data. I been trying to ask the developers of those sites and apps to properly attribute us as its important for users to know the source and eventually attract new contributors to our community.

Goals

Improve action on the usage of OSM data with lack of attribution.       

Improve communication towards OSM community


osmfoundation.org AGM details and agenda